Ohio Man Accused Of Throwing Iguana In Restaurant

Joe RaedleGetty Images

Police in Ohio say they arrested a man for throwing an iguana at the manager of a restaurant this week.

According to a Facebook post by the Painesville Police Department in northeastern Ohio, the incident took place Tuesday at a Perkins restaurant.

At lunchtime on Tuesday, a 49-year-old man allegedly “removed an iguana from his shirt and swung it around his head by its tail and then threw the iguana at the store manager.” The man fled, and when police caught up with him — two blocks away — he initially resisted arrest. The suspect, who was not named, was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and animal cruelty.

According to local news station Fox 8, a YMCA employee called police in an attempt to get the man off their property, and surprised the 911 dispatcher in saying that “he has a live iguana that he’s carrying.” This indicates that the suspect had retrieved the iguana before he left the restaurant.

The police also said that they seized the iguana, who they have given the nickname “Copper.” Copper was later released to the Lake County Humane Society. The iguana suffered injuries in the attack, the TV station said.

In a statement to Fox 8, Lee Nesler, the executive director of the Lake County Humane Society, said that the society will give Copper the necessary medical care pending the conclusion of the legal process.

“Iguanas are fragile, they need supplemental heat sources in cold temperatures and have no business being in a Perkins,” Nesler said.

A column last published last October in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel went through all of the legal requirements regarding how to dispose of a dead iguana, which appears to be a frequent issue of concern in that state.

Tossing the iguana carcass in the street or in a body of water, the newspaper said, is not allowed. Anyone doing so could face charges. Nor can the iguana remains be placed in garbage cans in many areas. Also, only some cities allow residents to give their iguanas backyard burials. Floridians are advised to contact city hall before doing so. Per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “there’s always cremation.”

The story also gives residents advice on how to deal with unwanted iguanas on their property, from the employment of traps to calling animal control on them. One expert also advises Floridians to put hot sauce on their plants in order to repel the lizards.